How to Put on Your Own "Brady Bunch" Wedding
How to Put On Your Own "Brady Bunch" Wedding
It's becoming increasingly common for second marriages to include the children of both partners' previous marriages. Blending your families is sensitive business, and your wedding offers great opportunities to celebrate your new union and bring your families together in a very special way. Here are some creative ideas on how to make every member of each family feel essential and valued.
The invitations. Want to make it really meaningful? Your kids could write the invitations to "the wedding of our mom and dad." That makes them honorary hosts of your big gala.
The processional. Chances are, you have all the people you need to put together a great bridal party, without having to reach beyond your own families. The bride's mom can be escorted up the aisle by her new father-in-law as a show of family unity; same for the groom's mom and father-in-law. Get the kids involved, as attendants, junior attendants, flower girls and ringbearers. If there's a minister or rabbi in either family, let him/her officiate the ceremony.
Who gives this bride? Skip that. Instead, have your officiant can ask the assembled guests whether they'll commit themselves to support your new family and offer their guidance and assistance in raising your kids together.
The vows. Your officiant can help you write vows that reflect your new roles as co-parents and acknowledge the special blessings of the brand new family you're creating.
Unity candle/sand/wine ceremony. Instead of just the two of you joining to light a single candle, or pour separate vials of sand into a shadow box, or pour separate containers of wine into a common glass, bring enough candles or sand or wine for every member of each family to add his or her contribution. That's a powerful symbol of complete family unity. Both your birth parents and stepparents can even offer their own individual vows of support and respect for your new blended family.
Family photos. Be sure your photographer takes lots of pictures, including the big one -- every member of each family, all in one picture. Blow that one up into a wall-size picture for your livingroom. Another great idea is to display lots of childhood pictures of you, your kids, your parents and grandparents in a blended family gallery at your reception.
Your introduction. This may take some set-up time, but the payoff is worth it. If your banquet room has big double doors, assemble your respective families into one big group in the foyer, then have your DJ introduce the whole gang as the new family before introducing the newlyweds.
DIY. Get your young children involved in making creative table decorations and favors. Your older children may wish to prepare special appetizers, a wedding cake, and even hand-crafted jewelry for the bridal party. A flexible florist may provide you with a special table for creating do-it-yourself bouquets and boutonnieres.
Where do the kids sit? You may wish to seat them at the bridal party table, arranging for a supervising adult on either side of each child. That way, the kids are the center of attention. If you're worried that the little ones will get antsy, then set aside a special children's table with lots of activities like coloring books and art supplies, or set aside a special room with children's videos, all under adult supervision.
When your wedding is over, you want every member of your new blended family to feel loved and valued, and know that they made a special contribution to the biggest day of your lives.
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